Fear Keeps Iraqis Out of Their Baghdad Homes
By SABRINA TAVERNISE, New York, August 24, 2008
BAGHDAD — When Jabbar, an elderly Shiite man, stormed out of his house here in June wanting to know where all his furniture had gone, the sharp look of the young Sunni standing guard on his street stopped him cold.
The young man said nothing, but his expression made things clear: Jabbar had no home here anymore.
After Iraq’s sectarian earthquake settled, his neighborhood had become a mostly Sunni area. Instead of moving back, he is trying to sell the house while staying in a rented one less than a mile away in an area that is mostly Shiite.
It is not an unusual decision. Out of the more than 151,000 families who had fled their houses in Baghdad, just 7,112 had returned to them by mid-July, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration. Many of the displaced remain in Baghdad, just in different areas. In one neighborhood alone, Amiriya, in western Baghdad, there are 8,350 displaced families, more than the total number of families who have returned to their houses in all of Baghdad.